10 Spotify Workout Playlists

It seems like everyone makes health related resolutions when the New Year starts. Many of them have to do with exercise. My motto is "If you're gonna work out, you might as well have some great music!" So, here are ten playlists on Spotify to play as you work up a sweat. I hope you enjoy them!

What is your favorite music to workout to?

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Teleflora Love Note Concierge $100 Gift Certificate Giveaway - ends 2/10/16

Teleflora Love Note Concierge

Welcome to the Teleflora Love Note Concierge

$100 Gift Certificate Giveaway

Sponsor:  Teleflora
Ends 2/10
Thank you to all the great bloggers that are helping promote this giveaway!!
This gift certificate expires on February 14, 2016!
Teleflora Love Note Concierge starts February 3rd!
This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. You are not eligible if you have won a prize from any of the sponsors in the last 12 month.  This Giveaway is valid in the Continental United States Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 2/10/16. The winners will have 24 hours to email their information back to las93063 at gmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Laura Smith at las930 (at)gmail (dot) com.

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10 Tips for Adult College Students

Ten weeks ago when I started this journey of college I was nervous. Okay, slightly more than nervous but it was something I knew I wanted, so I jumped in. Now that I'm not exactly a newbie anymore I have some helpful tips for all you adult college students (or prospective students) out there. They might seem common sense but for me they weren't. 

1. Buy a planner. By this I don't mean "find a cute planner and never use it." I've done that too. Not helpful. Buy a planner and use it to keep track of due dates, study time, other events, etc.

2. Use binders. For me, binders for each class seems to work the best. I have a note taking section, a folder, and dividers so I can get organized. Everyone is different. If binders don't work for you, then skip this advice.

3. Schedule your study time. As I hinted in the first tip, scheduling your time is important. If you don't plan to study, you likely won't. This also helps you to separate between family and study time. Initially I struggled with this but once I planned out my time better it helped.

4. Shut off the Facebook/E-mail notifications on your cellphone. This is helpful always but especially when you are trying to study. I'm one of those people who cannot ignore a notification on my phone. I simply must clear it. And then, while I'm there, I might just surf around the Internet. It is a huge time suck.

5. Take regular breaks. Once you actually are studying/doing homework don't overwhelm yourself by having marathons. This will drain you. Take a snack break or even just a breather. Step away, do something else, and just relax. Then, when you come back you will be all set to really dig in and learn.

6. Use flashcards. For me, this was one of the best things I could have done. Granted, it was mandatory for my last class but I would have anyway. Repetition is key when trying to grab hold of complicated material. 

7. Be patient with yourself. If you are like me, it has been quite a while since you were in school. It may take a bit to get your memory and study skills back.

8. Choose to not procrastinate. This is particularly difficult for me but it makes sense. When I procrastinate I tend to notice my stress level goes up. Just do your work as you get it and don't let it just sit there.

9. Celebrate the little things. Let's say you get an "A" on a test. Celebrate it. Yes! It will motivate you to continue.

10. Write down your long-term goals when you start school. This will help you when you are having a tough time or wondering why the heck you decided to go back to school "at your age". Trust me.

I used these tips this last five weeks and it really helped me. I ended up getting a 100% on my final! Honestly, I'm still in shock. While I can't guarantee you a certain score on your test, I can tell you that these things will help you as they did me.

Do you do any of these tips already or do you have any new ones for me?

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RIP Alan Rickman

I woke up to the news of Alan Rickman's death. Out of all the celebrities that have passed recently, this one gave me pause. He is one of my favorite actors and he will live on in his films. Here is a simple image I made to honor him. Prayers for his family & friends.

And, of course, he was so much more than Harry Potter. So much more than an actor. Truly any loss of life makes me sad and that it was to cancer makes me angry. Cancer has claimed far too many lives. RIP Alan Rickman

Have you been affected by cancer?

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Okay, so the other day I was talking about making lunch fun. I completely forgot to mention another trick I have. No worries, here I am with another post! Something my daughter loves is bananas. Mmm. Some days I put one in her lunch or snack. Obviously, not everyday because I try to shoot for variety. However, I like to include a note. ON the banana. I think it's quite obvious I adore words of encouragement. It's kind of my gift. The first time I made a banana-gram for my girl, she was astonished. She came home from school asking about the banana that I wrote on with marker. Haha.

Take a look at how I do it below.

All you need are a banana and a toothpick! How much easier can it be? You probably have the "ingredients" in your kitchen right now.

Take the toothpick and gently scratch a note in the peel. Don't push too hard as you are writing. It's not necessary and, in fact, makes it a bit harder to write well.

As you can see, my note says, "I *heart* U!" Anything goes here. I love using inside jokes like "Olive Juice (I love you)" as well. You know best what will make your kiddo giggle and smile.

I think she likes it! As you can see, within a little bit of time the scratched area darkens making the message very visible. I love the idea that I can speak words of love to her throughout her day. It really makes her smile. 

Have fun writing banana-grams to your little one!

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Making Packed Lunches Fun Again

I am definitely not one of those moms who can make Pinterest worthy lunches. Okay, I probably could but it is not a priority to me so meh. However, I do still love making my kiddos lunch a bit special sometimes. How do I do that? Simple...I mix it up with these ideas.

Love notes: I write her a little note of love and encouragement or even use a pre-made one that you can buy.

Sandwich Cutters: Nothing makes a sandwich more fun than silly shapes!

Fun foods: Every once in a while I get something that I wouldn't normally. Heck, sometimes it even becomes a  new favorite! These were some of the recent new products we tried and she loves them!

New Lunchbox: Now, I'm not suggesting you get a new lunchbox every other week. That's wasteful. But, if your child has had the same lunchbox for a long time, it might be time for a change!

There are affiliate links attached to each of the photos. So, I will get a small payment if you click and then buy, but they are products that I think are amazing.

What do you do to make your child's lunch fun?

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Kids Movies I'm Looking Forward to in 2016

I love kids movies and not just because I'm the mom of a seven year old. I've always been a fan! These are some of the kids movies coming out in 2016. 

  • Norm of the North: January 15, 2016
  • Kung Fu Panda 3: January 29, 2016
  • Zootopia: March 4, 2016
  • The Jungle Book: April 15, 2016
  • The Angry Birds Movie: May 20, 2016
  • Alice through the Looking Glass: May 27, 2016
  • Finding Dory: June 17, 2016
  • The BFG: July 1, 2016
  • The Secret Life of Pets: July 6, 2016
  • Ice Age: Collision Course: July 15, 2016
  • Pete's Dragon: August 12, 2016
  • Queen of Katwe: Fall 2016
  • Storks: September 23, 2016
  • Trolls: November 4, 2016
  • Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them: November 18, 2016
  • Moana: November 23, 2016
  • Rogue One: December 16, 2016
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiars: December 25, 2016
Norm of the NorthDisplaced from their Arctic home, a polar bear named Norm and his three lemming friends wind up in New York City, where Norm becomes the mascot of a corporation he soon learns is tied to the fate of his homeland.

Kung Fu Panda 3: Continuing his "legendary adventures of awesomeness", Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.

Zootopia: In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie rabbit cop and a fugitive fox con artist must work together to uncover a conspiracy.

The Jungle Book: An orphan boy is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.

The Angry Birds Movie: In this animated adaptation of the popular video-game series, a group of angry birds battle evil pigs.

Alice Through the Looking Glass: Alice returns to the whimsical world of Wonderland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter.

Finding Dory: The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the true meaning of family along the way.

The BFG: A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because unlike his peers refuses to eat boys and girls.

The Secret Life of Pets: Dogs, cats and other pets have fun while their owners are away.

Ice Age: Collision Course: Manny, Diego, Sid and the rest of the herd travel to exotic new lands after Scrat accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events from outer space.

Pete's Dragon: A young orphan seeks refuge from his abusive adoptive parents with the help of a pet dragon and a couple who live in a lighthouse.

Queen of Katwe: A young girl from Uganda trains to become a world chess champion.

Storks: Instead of delivering babies, Storks now deliver packages for an internet retailer. When a stork named Junior accidentally produces an unauthorized baby, he must fix the situation before anyone finds out.

Trolls: Princess Poppy and Branch venture "far beyond the only world they have ever known", and their quest will test their strength and reveal their true colors.

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them: The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York's secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

Moana: A young woman uses her navigational talents to set sail for a fabled island. Joining her on the adventure is her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui.

Rogue One: Rebels set out on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiars: Teenager Jacob follows clues that take him to a mysterious island, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores the abandoned bedrooms and hallways, he discovers that its former occupants were far more than peculiar; they possessed incredible powers. And they may still be alive.

Which one(s) excite you most?

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Easy Spaghetti Pie

Have you ever heard of spaghetti pie? It is delicious and simple but what if you have even less time than you need to make it? You cheat! Haha, here is my shortcut extra easy spaghetti pie.

The original recipe I use calls for eggs and parmesan cheese to be mixed with the cooked noodles. Then you layer the cheese mixture with the meat sauce and bake it until bubbly.

This "recipe" is even easier, if you can believe it. I hesitate to call it a recipe because it was so easy. I'm not even going to give you a complete list of quantities since I used leftovers to create it. 

Here are the ingredients I used.

1/2 package of cooked Spaghetti
1 package of Meatballs (or homemade)
1 jar of Marinara sauce (or homemade)
1 container of Cottage cheese
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese, to taste
Salt & Pepper, to taste

I simply placed the pasta in the bottom of the bowl with seasoned cottage cheese next. On top of that I put the sauce with meatballs in it. I popped it in the microwave to heat it through. Then I topped it with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, but you could also use a oven safe dish to heat it all up and melt the cheese. 

It was delicious and not too far from the original with less effort.

Have you ever had Spaghetti Pie?

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Our Holidays 2015

Are you looking for something to spice up your Christmas spirit? Check out these Free Christmas Printables! UpcycledTreasures.com:
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The Christmas season has come and gone without so much as a post from me. And while I wish I could do it all, I can't. I have been enjoying life. It has been utterly refreshing to just have time to be with my loved ones. Honestly, I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing holiday as well.

There was a solid chunk of time where I didn't even pick up a school book. That part is over though. When I go back to college I have two tests, a research paper, and one final so I've got to be prepared. Sometimes I still can't believe I'm in college. I'll be honest, I still question my career choice but I know that regardless of that, I am so happy to be doing this.

Over Christmas we got to spend time with some of our extended family. That was lovely though I wish I could have been with all of my friends and family at once. As a child I loved Christmas and while I still do, I have to admit that one of my favorite parts is watching our daughter experience it all. It's amazing to me how a parent's love has the ability to transform us from selfishness to selflessness. 

Below are some of our Christmas photos. Happy New Year to you all. I pray 2016 is a year filled with hope and joy.

How was your Christmas and New Year?

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Kung Fu Panda 1 & 2 (with new bonus content!)

The Hilarious Smash Hits DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2 Arrive with New Bonus Features on Digital HD December 15 and Blu-ray™ and DVD January 5. Skadoosh! 

To celebrate the upcoming release of DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3, revisit where it all began with over 80 minutes of fur-flying fun, including all–new antics! 

LOS ANGELES, CA – Relive the awesomeness of everyone’s favorite martial artsloving panda and the Furious Five in Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2, from the studio that brought you How To Train Your Dragon and Home. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release the two films with new extras on Digital HD December 15 and Blu-ray™ and DVD January 5 with a bonus disc of new content. 
In DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda, Jack Black is perfect as the voice of Po, a noodleslurping dreamer who must embrace his true self – fuzzy flaws and all – in order to become the Dragon Warrior. With groundbreaking animation and high-kicking humor, the Oscar-nominated Kung Fu Panda is delightful entertainment for the whole family. 
Black reprises his role as Po in Kung Fu Panda 2, the fiercely funny Academy Awardnominated sequel. In his biggest challenge since becoming the Dragon Warrior, Po must lead his friends and fellow kung fu masters, The Furious Five, on a mission of epic proportions to defeat his most threatening rival yet! 
The Kung Fu Panda franchise features the all-star voice talents of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Michelle Yeoh, Danny McBride and Jean-Claude Van Damme. 
The re-release of these films will include exciting new bonus features for the whole family to enjoy, including an all-new 22 minute animated adventure, “Secret of the Scroll,” and an exclusive sneak peek of DreamWorks Animation Kung Fu Panda 3. 

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